Egyptian Gods: Satis

Satis is the Egyptian deification of the flooding of the Nile that originates from the region of Aswan (ancient city of Swenet) found in the southern edge of the country. She is also the guardian of the cataracts. She is the wife and consort of the creator god and guardian of the source of the Nile, Khnum and the mother of Anuket, the goddess of the Nile. Together, they form the triad of the Elephantine deities in Abu Island. Her name also spelled as Satjit, Sates, Satet, and Sati means “she who shoots forth” or “she who ejects out” or “she who pours out” presumably due to the flooding of the Nile that is believed to be a result of the masturbation of Atum.

Her original hieroglyph is in the form of the shoulder knot. However, later on, it was transformed into an arrow piercing the skin of a cow.

She is personified as a woman wearing the conical crown associated with Upper Egypt attached to antelope or gazelle horns or ostrich plumes. A uraeus may also be seen bound to this crown. She may also take the form of the fast moving antelope or gazelle. Her symbols include arrows (presumed to be signifying the river current) and running river thus the title “She Who Runs like an Arrow”. She often seen wearing a simple sheath dress usually carrying the ankh – a symbol of life she bestows by way of the flooding of the Nile. Her true function is in fertility who grants the desires of those who search for love. She also sometimes seen as the goddess of women and love.

She may be seen as a funerary goddess as well. She is depicted as a woman offering jars of purifying water. In this form, she has a star on her head. Such purified water is used to cleanse the dead so they might enter the gates of heaven. All impurities of the dead will be washed off in preparation for afterlife. This water is believed to have come from the Underworld poured out to the world by way of the Nile River.

She is originally of Nubian origin and was formerly known as a goddess of the war and the hunt. She protects the pharaoh from enemies by shooting arrows to kill them. This gained her the following titles: “Mistress of Nubia”, “Mistress of the Punt country” and “Guardian of the Southern Frontier of Egypt”. She was also given the epithet “She of Sehel” because of following in the Setet Island.

She was once thought to be the daughter of Ra and performed the duties as one of the Eyes of Ra.

She is associated with the star Sirius – known as Sothis, which is the personification of the star, Sept. This star signals the annual inundation of the Nile – the primary role of Satis. According to myth, at the “Night of the Teardrop”, Isis would shed a single tear which is caught by Satis. She will then pour it into the Nile causing the yearly flood.

When Khnum was assimilated by Osiris, Satis became Isis and Anuket became Nephthys. She was also linked to Hathor – another goddess of love and fertility.

Her cult following is centered in Setet Island in the Elephantine region where a temple is built to her honor. Recent discoveries reveal that she may have been popular in Lower Egypt as well basing on certain items dug up in Saqqara.